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Ben Alexander

Ben Alexander

American actor
Ben Alexander
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actor
Was Actor Television actor Film actor Musician Child actor
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Music
Gender male
Birth 26 May 1911, Goldfield
Death 5 July 1969, Hollywood (aged 58 years)
Star sign Gemini
Peoplepill ID ben-alexander-2
The details

Biography

Nicholas Benton "Ben" Alexander III (June 27, 1911 – July 5, 1969) was an American motion picture actor, who started out as a child actor in 1916. He is best remembered for his role as Officer Frank Smith in the Dragnet franchise.

Life and career

Ben Alexander
Ben Alexander as a child actor

Ben Alexander was born in Goldfield, Nevada, and raised in California. Alexander made his screen debut at age of five in Every Pearl a Tear. He went on to portray Lillian Gish's young brother in D. W. Griffith's Hearts of the World. After a number of silent films, he retired from screen work, but came back for the World War I classic, All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), in which Alexander received good notices as an adult actor as "Kemmerick", the tragic amputation victim.

Alexander played leads and second leads in many low-budget films throughout the 1930s.

He found a new career as a successful radio announcer in the late 1940s, including a stint on the Martin and Lewis program. Alexander also acted on radio, playing Philip West in the 1939–40 soap opera Brenthouse on the Blue Network.

In 1952, Jack Webb, actor-producer-director of Dragnet, needed a replacement for Barton Yarborough, who had played Detective Romero opposite Webb's Sgt. Joe Friday. Webb selected Alexander, but had to wait until he was available. A few actors filled in as Friday's partners until Alexander appeared in the newly created role of Officer Frank Smith, first in the radio series, then reprised the role in film and on television. The popular series ran until 1959. When Webb revived it in 1966, he wanted Alexander to rejoin him, but Alexander had just signed to play the role of Sgt. Dan Briggs on the weekly ABC series Felony Squad.

In 1969, Alexander was found dead of heart attack in his home when his wife and children returned from a camping trip.

For his contribution to the entertainment industry, Ben Alexander was awarded three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for television, radio, and movies.

Other

Ben Alexander
Alexander and his family in 1961, pictured are his daughter, Lesley, his son, Bradford, and his wife, Lesley.

Alexander owned and operated the Ben Alexander Ford car dealership in the Highland Park neighborhood of northeast Los Angeles, from around 1953 until his death in 1969, and a San Francisco branch was formed in 1959. In the mid-1950s, Ben Alexander's Dream House Motel was located at 1815 North Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Alexander ran a talent show for young people out of Oakland. The Ben Alexander Talent Show was broadcast on Oakland's KTVU TV, a local station in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Filmography

  • Each Pearl a Tear (1916)
  • The Little American (1917) - Bobby Moore
  • What Money Can't Buy (1918) - Child
  • Hearts of the World (1918) - The Boy's Littlest Brother
  • The Lady of the Dugout (1918) - The Lady's Son
  • The Heart of Rachael (1918) - Jim
  • The One Woman (1918) - Boy
  • Little Orphant Annie (1918) - Orphan
  • The Turn in the Road (1919) - Bob
  • The White Heather (1919) - Donald Cameron
  • Josselyn's Wife (1919) - Tommy Josselyn
  • The Hushed Hour (1919) - Gondy
  • The Mayor of Filbert (1919) - Carroll
  • Tangled Threads (1919) - 'Sonny Boy' Wayne
  • The Better Wife (1919) - Little Dick
  • The Triflers (1920) - Rupert Holbrook
  • The Family Honor (1920) - Little Ben Tucker
  • The Notorious Mrs. Sands (1920) - Child
  • Through Eyes of Men (1920) - Little Billy
  • Blue Streak McCoy (1920)
  • The Heart Line (1921) - The Child
  • In the Name of the Law (1922) - Harry O'Hara - age 9, prologue
  • Penrod and Sam (1923) - Penrod Schofield
  • The Yankee Spirit (1923, Short)
  • Jealous Husbands (1923) - Bobbie (later called Spud)
  • Boy of Mine (1923) - Bill Latimer
  • Barnum Junior (1924, Short)
  • Junior Partner (1924, Short)
  • A Self-Made Failure (1924) - Sonny
  • Dirty Hand (1924, Short)
  • Flaming Love (1925) - Benny Keene
  • Pampered Youth (1925) - George Minafer, as a child
  • Wildcat Willie (1925, Short)
  • The Shining Adventure (1925) - Benny
  • The Highbinders (1926) - Roy Marshall
  • Scotty of the Scouts (1926) - Scotty Smith
  • Fighting for Fame (1927) - Danny Ryan
  • Two to One (1927)
  • The Divine Lady (1929) - Young Lieutenant (uncredited)
  • The Lunkhead (1929, Short) - Ben - Billy's Chum
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) - Franz Kemmerich
  • Many a Slip (1931) - Ted Coster
  • It's a Wise Child (1931) - Bill Stanton
  • Are These Our Children? (1931) - Nicholas 'Nick' Crosby
  • Suicide Fleet (1931) - Kid
  • A Wise Child (1931)
  • Mystery Ship (1931)
  • High Pressure (1932) - Geoffrey Weston
  • The Wet Parade (1932) - Evelyn's Friend (uncredited)
  • Tom Brown of Culver (1932) - Cpl. John Clarke
  • The Vanishing Frontier (1932) - Lucien Winfield
  • Alias the Professor (1933, Short)
  • Mister Mugg (1933, Short)
  • Roadhouse Queen (1933, Short) - Junior Knox
  • Daddy Knows Best (1933, Short) - Billy Todd
  • What Price Innocence? (1933) - Tommy Harrow
  • This Day and Age (1933) - Morry Dover
  • Stage Mother (1933) - Francis Nolan
  • Once to Every Woman (1934) - Joe
  • The Most Precious Thing in Life (1934) - Gideon 'Gubby' Gerhart
  • The Life of Vergie Winters (1934) - Barry Preston
  • Flirtation (1934) - Dudley
  • Grand Old Girl (1935) - Tom Miller
  • Born to Gamble (1935) - Paul Mathews
  • Reckless Roads (1935) - Wade Adams
  • Annapolis Farewell (1935) - Adams
  • Splendor (1935) - Western Union Messenger (uncredited)
  • The Fire Trap (1935) - Bob Fender
  • Hearts in Bondage (1936) - Eggleston
  • Red Lights Ahead (1936) - George Wallace
  • Shall We Dance (1937) - Evans - a Bandleader (uncredited)
  • The Legion of Missing Men (1937) - Don Carter
  • The Outer Gate (1937) - Bob Terry
  • Western Gold (1937) - Bart
  • The Life of the Party (1937) - Orchestra Leader (uncredited)
  • The Spy Ring (1938) - Capt. Don Mayhew
  • Russian Dressing (1938, Short) - Band Leader Bill Farraday
  • Mr. Doodle Kicks Off (1938) - Larry Weldon
  • Convict's Code (1939) - Jeff Palmer
  • Buried Alive (1939) - Riley
  • The Leather Pushers (1940) - Dan Brown, Announcer
  • Criminals Within (1941) - Sgt. Paul, the Traitor
  • Dragnet (1954) - Officer Frank Smith
  • Man in the Shadow (1957) - Ab Begley

Television

  • The Joseph Cotten Show, also known as On Trial (1 episode, 1957)
  • The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford (January 24, 1957)
  • Dragnet (regular, 1952–1959) - Officer Frank Smith
  • Take A Good Look (Semi-regular 1959–1960) - Himself / Panelist
  • About Faces (1960–1961) - Himself - Host
  • Batman (1 episode, 1966) - Detective Beside Trash Can
  • Felony Squad (Unknown episodes, 1966–1969) - Desk Sgt. Dan Briggs
  • Judd, for the Defense (1 episode, 1969)

Writer

  • Dragnet (Co-writer, 6 episodes)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 09 Aug 2019. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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References
http://projects.latimes.com/hollywood/star-walk/ben-alexander/
http://www.walkoffame.com/ben-alexander
https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Q8pRAAAAIBAJ&sjid=D20DAAAAIBAJ&pg=4055,1066002&dq=ben+alexander+dragnet&hl=en
http://businessprofiles.com/details/ben-alexander-ford-inc-of-san/CA-C0376662
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0018273/
https://www.allmovie.com/artist/p804
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/8711971
https://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/n87896359
https://viaf.org/viaf/6462947
https://www.worldcat.org/identities/containsVIAFID/6462947
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